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Taeyon Neal (33) of Providence-St. Mel boxes out against Manley. Worsom Robinson/ For the Sun-Times.

Henricksen: Top young talent at Pangos Camp and more

SHARE Henricksen: Top young talent at Pangos Camp and more
SHARE Henricksen: Top young talent at Pangos Camp and more

The Pangos All-Midwest Frosh/Soph Camp has become an annual early look at some of the top young talent in the state.

This past weekend in LaGrange that talent was on display. Here are some thoughts on a few players who stood out at the Pangos Event, along with some other prep basketball news and notes.

Top 10 trio of guards in 2019:The Pangos event brought together three of the top guards in the sophomore class in Uplift’s Markese Jacobs, St. Joseph’s Marquise Walker and Simeon’s Kejuan Clements. All three impressed and all three are among the top 10 prospects in the Class of 2019.

Jacobs again showed his game-changing ultra-explosiveness with the ball in his hands. Walker continued to use his solid shooting mechanics to knock down perimeter jumpers while playing his lead guard role.

While Jacobs, a Kansas commit who was decked out in his Jayhawks gear, and Walker both made big impressions and major impacts as freshmen last season, Clements played a small role.

Now Clements is ready to take on more responsibility and a much bigger load as a sophomore, even with the perimeter talent Simeon has returning in senior Evan Gilyard and juniors Kezo Brown and Talen Horton-Tucker. Clements will likely move into the starting five and make an impact at both ends of the floor.

While his perimeter jumper and playmaking skills continue to improve, Clements can be a nightmare for opponents with his disrupting, basket-attacking style.

Another Alausa:While Chicago U-High big man Jameel Alausa made a name for himself over the past year –– the 6-7 senior is among the top 20 senior prospects in Illinois and is committed to Yale –– look for his younger brother, Mohammed Alausa, to make a major impact this season.

The younger Alausa, a strong 6-3 sophomore wing, opened eyes with his play this past summer and again at the Pangos event. He’s a force getting to the rim, plays with energy and is a rising prospect in the Class of 2019.

Another Big Ten visit set for Eastern:The state’s top uncommitted senior prospect, Evanston’s Nojel Eastern, has one more Big Ten official visit set before the early signing period in November. Eastern will visit Ohio State this weekend.

The versatile 6-6 senior, ranked among the top 100 players in the country in the Class of 2017, has already visited Big Ten schools Purdue and Michigan State. Eastern also took an official visit to Seton Hall earlier this fall.

Young guards will boost Evanston:Led by the return of Eastern and fellow senior veterans Elyjah Williams and Chris Hamil, the Wildkits will be one of the state’s top teams and a Class 4A contender.

A pair of sophomore guards, 6-1 Lance Jones and 5-8 Jaheim Holden, are poised to provide quite a boost for coach Mike Ellis on the perimeter. Both Jones, a strong-bodied guard with a big upside, and the cat-quick Holden had their moments of impressing at Pangos.

In case you missed it:Curie guard Elijah Joiner, who was overlooked for too long in recruiting circles, committed to Tulsa over the weekend. The 6-2 guard received offers from the likes of Iowa State, UAB, Missouri, Illinois State, UIC and others.

Class of 2019 big man improving:The development of any high school big man takes time. The important thing is to see continued improvement, which is what Taeyon Neal of Providence-St. Mel showed once again this past weekend.

Neal, a big-bodied 5-man who is closing in on 6-10, remains raw and unpolished. But the improvement in his game, body and mobility makes this sophomore so intriguing. There will be Division I coaching staffs from all levels monitoring his progress over the next couple of years.

Impressive freshmen:While Peoria Manual’s Adam Miller is the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top freshman in Illinois, a pair of exciting young Chicago area talents in the Class of 2020 will eventually make their mark in time: Morgan Park’s Nimari Burnett and Fenwick’s D.J. Steward.

Burnett, a talented 6-1 guard, already has instinctual scoring capabilities for such a young player, while Steward is a silky smooth 6-2 wing.

New name to watch at Bogan:Coach Arthur Goodwin has produced his share of talented guards in recent years at Bogan. Sophomore Jeremiah Washington could be the next one. Washington is small but dynamic with the ball in his hands. The 5-8 point guard puts pressure on a defense in many ways –– with his jumper, the pass and his ability to break people down off the dribble.

Eye-opening 8th grader:While the Pangos Camp is made up of freshmen and sophomores, there were a few 8th graders in the event. And opening eyes was 6-4 Patrick Baldwin, Jr., a middle schooler in Evanston and the son of former Northwestern player and current NU assistant Pat Baldwin.

More perimeter talent at Young:Junior Xavier Castaneda will be the catalyst at Young over the next two years, but there are a pair of talented young guards coming up through the pipeline: 6-2 sophomore Myles Baker and freshman Tyler Beard.

Follow Joe Henricksen and the Hoops Report on Twitter @joehoopsreport

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